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GOVERNMENT PLEDGES TO REFORM THE 'TWO MUSICIANS RULE'

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Minister for music, Kim Howells, today pledged to simplify licensing ...
Minister for music, Kim Howells, today pledged to simplify licensing

laws to make it easier and cheaper for pubs to obtain permission to

stage musical performances.

Speaking to representatives from the world of jazz, folk, world and

fusion music, at Modal 2002, an annual conference for the UK's non-

mainstream music industry, Kim Howells said:

'I want to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live,

their culture or ethnic background, gender or ability to pay, has

the opportunity to experience live music.'

Kim Howells spoke to delegates about public entertainment licenses

and their effect on live musical performances in pubs. He said:

'I am firmly committed to the reform and modernisation of our

archaic and at times, wholly stupid, licensing laws. I do not

need persuasion that the 'two musicians rule' is outdated and

pointless.'

The current rule allows one or two singers or musicians to perform in

a pub without the landlord being required to obtain the normal fee-

paid public entertainment licence from the local authority.

Dr Howells continued:

'Simply abolishing the two musicians rule is not enough. Abolition

would remove the exemption and make it harder and more costly for

pubs to put on singers and other musical performers. Our approach is

to simplify and integrate the licensing regimes so that it is easier

and less expensive for pubs to obtain the necessary permission to

stage musical performances. These reforms have to be introduced

through primary legislation - there is no quick fix.

'We intend to bring forward a Bill modernising the licensing

laws as soon as parliamentary time permits.'

The reformed licensing system will sweep away a great deal of current

red tape, which deters many licensees from staging musical and other

public entertainment. But it will still provide protection for

customers and for local residents who can be disturbed by excessive

noise from some premises.

Notes

The licensing White Paper - Time for Reform: which was published by

the home office in April 2000 can be found on the DCMS website:

www.culture.gov.uk

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